Disclaimer: I don't own Batman. That's DC Comics. Although I wish I was smart enough to make that kind of money off of a picture.

An: By the way - this is a Batman fanfic written by someone who's only seen The Dark Knight. If I make mistakes, please don't stop reading on the assumption that I should know this stuff. I don't know all the minute characters, but I believe I can get off a fairly decent first chapter. This is an idea I've had since watching the movie, so bear with me, review, and leave constructive criticism. Anything else I'll roast marshmallows over. Oh, and pardon the spelling errors - wordpad doesn't have spellcheck, apparently.

Child of a Dark Knight

It bloody figured that, once again, the Joker would be on the loose. As if life in Gotham couldn't get bad enough, the insane lunatic attacked an orphanage and took a good number of the children hostage. Most of them had never even set foot outdoors, much less knew the streets well enough to know where they were. The police were confused, as they usually were. The Joker didn't think like regular people did. He had no plans. He merely went on a whim. This whim might just cost him and land him back in Arkham where he belongs, but on the other hand, this is Gotham. Not much goes as it should in a city like it.

He crouched on top of the building, listening in as Commissioner Gordon fed him information from below. Gordon had to know that he could hear him, he was talking just loud enough for his microphone, hidden underneath the drain pipe at Gordon's feet, to pick up the Commissioner's voice. "How many kids were taken?" He was furious, and rightly so. The Joker had all but told them where he was going and what he was going to do, and the police still hadn't been able to stop him. The poor officer he was talking to shrank back in shame and fear.

"He's only taken two." he said quickly. "But - judging from the amount of blood - one of the kids is dead."

Gordon cursed. "What about the other one?"

"Wounded, we would think. I'm not sure about that. He took a ten-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl. We think the boy is dead. For some reason, he seemed determined not to hurt the girl."

He frowned as he listened in. "That sounds odd." he murmured to himself. "Since when did Joker care about the condition of his hostages?"

"That's not all though, Commissioner. There are ten more children that have been removed from the orphanage. Apparently Joker didn't take them with him when he left." The man fiddled with his badge for a moment, his eyes downcast. "With the riots around the docks and everything else that's going on, we simply don't have the manpower to go after the Joker and find the missing children." Gordon hesitated, thinking carefully. The man on the roof leaned forward as much as he could without falling off. Wouldn't that be a laugh, to spend most of the last six months avoiding the cops like the plague and then accidentally fall into a nest of them, even if Gordon was their leader? "So, Commissioner, what do we do? If we go after the Joker, we risk losing ten kids. On the other hand, if we let the Joker go, he'll probably kill that girl."

The man on the roof snorted in contempt. "Not likely." he muttered. "If Joker didn't kill her outright, she'll be a pawn in his whim. He won't kill her as long as she's useful." Unfortunately, he understood the Joker a lot better than he would have liked. His last encounter with the insane man had scarred both him and Gotham City for life. It wasn't something he could forget easily, not like the other things he dealt with. Joker was in a class of his own.

Gordon finally sighed. "There's nothing to it. Two lives are better than twelve. Take the officers and go after the children. Do whatever you have to to find them." The officer nodded and headed off to round up his subordinates, leaving Gordon standing by himself on the sidewalk. His voice lowered, but the man on the roof could still hear him. "I leave the Joker to you. You are not the evil they make you out to be. Prove it this one time for me. Find Joker, and bring that girl back to us alive." He started to walk off, but hesitated. "If the boy is still alive, find him as well. If not - well, I guess we'll be the ones to find him soon enough. I doubt the Joker would slow himself down carrying a dead body."

The man on the roof chuckled. "Not unless he thought it might be useful. Still, you're probably going to be the one to find him."

From his earpiece, a distinguished voice issued. "It isn't wise to talk to oneself, Master Wayne."

"I wasn't talking to myself, Alfred." Bruce protested lightly, standing up to his full height. He made for an impressive figure normally, made even more intimidating by the layers of black armor he now wore. "Just because Gordon can't hear me doesn't mean I'm not talking to him."

Alfred sighed. "There is a fine line between genius and insanity, sir."

"As you are fond of reminding me." Bruce pointed out. "We'll discuss that fine line later. Right now I need you to help me track the Joker. Cross-reference every hideout that the Joker could easily get to with ones the cops are likely to hit. Give me the rest of them."

"You will risk the cops finding the Joker first?"

"No. Joker won't be where any cops can find him." Bruce said with all confidence. Tonight, something was going to change. He could feel it.

Tonight, Batman had a job to do. And he knew nothing would be the same again.

/--/

AN: Short, I know, but like I said, bear with me. I actually know what I'm doing with this one! (laughs) Give me pointers and reviews, please!